Each month, Fostering Success Michigan features a Student Spotlight that celebrates the accomplishments and achievements of students with experience in foster care who are in one of 12 higher education support programs in Michigan. Do you know a student to spotlight? We would love to hear from you!
October, 2014 FSM Student Spotlight
Meet Damonta M.! Damonta is a student and scholar at Ferris State University. Damonta recently traveled to Amsterdam for study abroad. We asked Damonta a few questions about this experience as well as his future plans....Here is what Damonta had to say!
FSM: Please tell us a little about your study abroad experience and other accomplishments or involvement you have at Ferris?
DM: My study abroad experience was a blast! I landed in Amsterdam, Netherlands at about 5:30 a.m. on Sunday, July 6th. It was very different from the start, I mean airports are tough to get around no matter what, but being in Dutch and not knowing where to go or trying to figure out who speaks English is always a different kind of task at hand.
Things that are different in Europe that had a huge impact on the society over there was the transportation system; they used many more bikes than us Americans and the public transportation system was a great thing to have. Since they have many more dense populated areas and not that much room for separate housing, most people there use the government issued housing and that makes for cheaper living, although everything there is more expensive than here considering that Euros are more than dollars.
While attending the course overseas, I had to adapt to a different, more fast paced learning style. The Dutch are timely people, so everything is timed out and most things are done when they are supposed to be. The course I took was called Contemporary Cities and Urban Challenges, it dealt with over population in big cities and how thriving cities fail and the not so thriving cities bounce back.
At Ferris, I am the president of Ferris Youth Initiative (FYI), I am a Junior, I play football, and I also run track. My GPA is about 3.4.
FSM: What do you hope to do after graduation? Do you have a specific area of passion?
DM: After graduation, I will have a bachelors in Criminal Justice with a minor in sociology and will really focus on juvenile delinquent kids and kids who have been through rough times. I want to give them a path like mine, whereas at the end of it you can succeed because today, kids fail easy. They don't have the background support that they need.
FSM: What can professionals do to better serve students with experience in foster care?
DM: Professionals can do a better job at getting to know the people they work with. I really had the hardest times during foster care when things weren't going the greatest and I couldn't really find anyone to vent to. Workers should be able to posses an inner-side that can mix the work and regular life for just a split second and really take into account the things we deal with. It could make the situations turn out much better.
FSM: What advice do you have for students thinking about going to college?
DM: Advice, I can give other kids who want to go to college (all should) is that we are the next generation of leaders and if we can just apply ourselves and make change happen and break the bad habits we see from parenting, all the way down to the child listening, we can stop the cycles. To me, this is the main goal behind this entire process.
Fostering Success Michigan is a program of Educate Tomorrow that aims to increase access and success in higher education and post-college careers for youth with experience in foster care. Learn how you can contribute to building a holistic network that insulates (i.e., strengthens protective factors and reduces risks) the education to career "pipeline."Make a Donation